For the most part of their shared history, Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt have experienced bouts of sectarian tension alternating with peaceful coexistence. Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt tells the story of Muslim–Christian relations in Egypt from the coming of Islam to the aftermath of the January 2011 revolution. It begins by describing how the Church of Alexandria came into existence, and created a monastic tradition that would influence the whole of Christendom, before exploring the theological controversies that plagued the Eastern Roman world before the advent of Islam. After bouts of persecution by the Roman emperors, the Copts were strongly opposed by the Melkite Church, but, with the Arab invasion of Egypt in the seventh century, they achieved a measure of independence and individuality that they retained over the centuries. The Copts were also subjected to periods of persecution—by rulers from the Umayyad, Abbasid, and Fatimid dynasties, and under the Mamluks—but by and large, a relatively satisfactory form of cohabitation was established. The authors argue that, even if they were occasionally attacked and persecuted, the Copts generally shared the fortunes of their Muslim neighbors, and that religious difference in Egypt was frequently exploited by rulers, both internal and external, for political gain. Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt provides an engaging and highly readable account of communal relations through key points in Egyptian history.
To read an excerpt, click here.
For the Table of Contents, click here.